WINGS OF DESIRENew York's 34th Annual Halloween Parade
DESIGN and CONCEPT: Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles
CHOREOGRAPHY: Livia Vanaver
MUSIC: Dean Jones
“In the classic cartoon scene, Bugs Bunny runs over the edge of the precipice. He walks through the air for a few moments, with no ground beneath his feet. Only when he looks down and takes stock of his situation – 'uh oh'– does he start to fall. In my humble opinion, all mankind is to be found in this comic hiatus.” Matthias von Boxsel
“Excuse me, while I kiss the sky” Jimi Hendrix
On a bright autumn day in 1010, Brother Eilmer of Malmesbury climbed to the top of the Abbey’s 80-foot bell tower. He strapped on a set of exquisitely feathered wings. Taking a breath, he paused to survey the expanse of countryside below, and then stepped off the edge into the void.
From Icarus to Apollo 11, wings have always embodied our desire to transcend our earthbound selves. Our long romance with technology is simply the pursuit of that brief moment of suspension, when all the rules and preconceptions that have bound us cease to apply, and we are free. For centuries we have leaped toward the Sun – ingeniously, perilously, deliriously – risking everything to stretch our imaginations as we stretched our wings. These days flying has become commonplace reality, something we endure rather than experience. Perhaps now we must seek the fleeting ecstasy of Icarus elsewhere, trading in our prosthetic wings for the wings of the mind, embarking on flights of fancy to places occupied by Angels and Devils, Pegasus and Quetzocoatl, Superman and Dumbo.
Aristophanes saw the realm of the birds as the perfect interregenum between humanity and divinity. Wings of Desire sought to evoke mankind’s evolving upward journey – from the birds that inspired our awe and envy of nature, to the daring hopes of human-powered wings, to the flight of imagination that enables us to envision a future in the midst of precarious times.
And what became of Brother Eilmer? He flew. Yes, albeit for only a moment, but such moments can last an eternity.
DESIGNS AND PHOTOS from the 2007 NY Village Halloween Parade
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